California unemployment at 70-year high

Final August unemployment data was released yesterday with states indicating continued nonfarm payroll contraction going into the fall.

The Labor Department indicated an overall increase in unemployment in 27 states, a decrease in 16 and no change in 7. Record high jobless rates were reached in California (12.2%), Nevada (13.2%) and Rhode Island (12.8%); the highest since widespread state data was first reported in 1976. California’s rate was influenced by the state budget passed in July which closed a US$24 billion shortfall by cutting many state-provided programs which included many state jobs.

Michigan, again, had the highest unemployment rate in August at 15.2% which is nearly double its August 2008 unemployment rate of 8.6%. North Dakota, again, had the lowest unemployment rate at 4.3%. The current national unemployment rate is 9.7%.

On the jobs-front, forty-two states lost jobs last month led by Texas, Michigan, Georgia, and Ohio, totalling over 216,000 jobs; eight states recorded increases in job positions. The biggest job gains were in North Carolina and Montana. Since the recession began in December of 2007, there have been nearly 7 million jobs lost nation-wide.

Data for September will be released in the first week of October.

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